James Patterson,
Kiss the Girls
(Time Warner, 1995; 2005)

Kiss the Girls, by James Patterson, was first released in 1995 and is the second Alex Cross novel, but the first the be made in to a movie (1997). The first Alex Cross book (1993), yet second movie (2001), is Along Came a Spider. Not to confuse things further, but Time Warner has released a version of the audiobook of Kiss the Girls in 2005.

For those of you not familiar with Alex Cross, at the time of Kiss the Girls he is a police detective in Washington, D.C. Alex has a Ph.D. in psychology and is an expert in the area of serial killings.

Young females have been disappearing in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area. A predator who calls himself "Casanova" seems attracted to talented, intelligent, strong-willed women. One of those women is Cross's niece, Naomi. While not an official member of the investigation, Alex is allowed to join the hunt due to this connection.

During the course of the investigation, one of Casanova's victims manages to escape. With her help, Alex and the team draw in closer to the killer. With the ability to "connect dots" the listener has not heard about, Alex will link the crimes in North Carolina to crimes in California by a serial killer who goes by the name "The Gentleman Caller." Is there one killer who works both coasts, or two who work together or perhaps compete?

Robert Guillaume, better known as the title character in the old television show Benson, reads the part of Alex Cross. Guillaume is the third actor to play Cross that I know about, and the worst. Morgan Freeman plays a decent Alex Cross in the movie versions. Peter J. Fernandez is an excellent reader of other Alex Cross audiobooks. Personally, I think Fernandez should have narrated this audiobook as well. Alas, we have a "butler" playing a detective. It doesn't work very well.

Casanova is performed by Chris North. This actor has been on Sex & the City, Law & Order and Hill Street Blues. Casanova is supposed to have a North Carolina accent; I hope that North just had a terrible time creating this accent and this isn't his real voice. It is terrible. The accent sounds very forced. For me, it was as pleasurable to listen to as nails down a chalkboard.

I generally enjoy Patterson's Cross series. His other novels are hit or miss for me, but the Cross series is, for the most part, good. This audiobook, unfortunately, is one to be avoided. Read the book yourself or go rent the 1997 movie with Freeman. The film diverges from the book, and is, quite frankly, a mediocre serial killer movie, but it is leaps and bounds better than this audiobook.

by Wil Owen
8 April 2006

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